Lewis Hamilton has finished first in the Bahrain Grand Prix to capture his second consecutive victory of the Formula One season. His Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg came in just behind him in a thrilling end to the race.
Hamilton and Rosberg went head-to-head on Sunday at the track in Manama. Their two Mercedes cars were simply on a different level than the rest of the field. It was the team's second one-two finish in eight days after victory in Malaysia.
Force India's Sergio Perez, who also has a Mercedes engine, finished third to take the final podium spot. Daniel Ricciardo came in fourth, while his Red Bull teammate and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel finished sixth.
With no orders from their team, Hamilton and Rosberg, who started on pole, were allowed to go head-to-head for first place at the 900th ever grand prix.
"With 10 laps left to race, can we just make sure we bring both cars home," Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe told the two drivers.
Race tops career
Although Rosberg, who called the race "the most exciting of my career," occasionally got his nose ahead, Hamilton ultimately came in 1.085 seconds faster for his 24th career win.
"It was very, very fair and it was very hard to keep him behind," said Hamilton of Rosberg. "He was very fast on the option tires and I was on the knife-edge the whole time."
"It's my first time winning in Bahrain and it's taken me a long time so I'm really, really proud," he added.
The showdown for the final 11 laps was set up by the need for a safety car late on after Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado came out of the pits and hit the side of Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez at the first corner.
The Mexican's car flipped in the collision, but Gutierrez was able to walk away.
Sunday's result keeps Rosberg, who won the season-opener in Australia, atop the overall F1 standings with 61 points after three races, ahead of Hamilton's 50.
Mercedes maintains a dominant lead in the constructors' title, with 111 points, 67 points ahead of next-best Force India.
dr/ipj (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)